Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I am happy to report that I did not go to jail over the weekend, thus I was able to accompany Monkey Toes and my boys to the Vikings game on Sunday (refer to my Jailhouse Rock post).  We left early so we could attend Mass at the Basilica - something Honey Bunches has been asking to do for quite awhile.

The kids were in awe of this magnificent structure.  It really is quite remarkable.  Immediately following Mass tours are give and Honey wanted to stay, but time was passing quickly and we had a noon kick-off.

I have commented before about how much I enjoy "people watching."  Let me say this; a professional sporting venue trumps any other place to be entertained by people in their fanatic environments.  As exciting as the game was to watch (The Vikes pulled off a very impressive win!), the people seated around us amused me, dare I say, just as much.  The gentleman seated in front of us would flash these hand signals after every play (nothing inappropriate).  I believe he was imitating the refs.  The couple seated behind us and a little to the right would make-out each time the Vikes scored (gross!).  Three rows ahead of us, a young man would do a gallop dance within his 2x2 space, after each call in favor of the Vikings.  I saw women with purple and gold streaks in their hair and nails painted to match.  I saw a 20-something male wearing long, satin purple gloves.  A mother dressed her newborn in a Vikings helmet with braids.  There was a young couple seated in front of us who enjoyed taking self-portraits of themselves at the start of each quarter.  We're talking 3 full hours of entertainment and the game was a bonus.

After attending this game, I understand people's enthusiasm.  The excitement was electric inside the dome.  It was very easy to get caught up in the cheering and jeering and high-fives with people I didn't know.  It was exhilerating (and a little exhausting when all was said and done).  No matter the outcome of the game, it still would have been a great afternoon, because I spent it with the three guys I love most!

Me, Honey Bunches and Sweet Potato, during the first quarter.  Sweet Potato was making himself some earplugs out of napkins.  It was LOUD in the dome.

Sweet Potato calling his Nino (who happens to be a Niners fan).  I love Monkey and Honey in the background.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Thank God For Technology.  I mean that sincerely (well at least tonight).  Case in point. . .

 Monkey Toes has been gone this past week, yet the kids were still able to see him and talk to him about their days.  As you can see, they loved it!

More importantly, Monkey was able to pray with his family and bless the kids (including the neighbor kid) before bed.

So tonight I thank God for technology which helps to make our time apart from Monkey Toes a little easier and enables us to maintain what's most important.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

That's My Final Answer

Using her most "talk-show host" voice, Cucumber asked Sweet Pea,

Cucumber:  Alright Miss Sweet Pea, what is 100 plus 100?

Sweet Pea:  10

Cucumber:  I'm sorry.  The correct answer is 120.

Sweet Pea:  Ugh!  I was so close!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jail House Rock

I'm not exactly sure why, but my kids have been talking about "jail" lately.  There have been some pretty random references, especially from Sweet Pea.  For instance, last week I told the little ones it was time to go pick the older kids up from school.  Sweet Pea asked, "can I stay home by myself?"  I of course told her no. 

Then she said, "if you leave me home by myself then you could go to jail because the police would take you away." 

Me:  Um, yes.  But that won't happen because I won't leave you home alone.

Then yesterday while driving, Sweet Pea commented, "If you don't wear your seat belt Mom, you're going to go to jail."

Me:  Well I would probably get pulled over by the police, but I wouldn't be taken to jail.
Sweet Pea:  I think you'll go to jail.

Should I be concerned?

This morning (again while driving to school), the older kids were talking about our weekend plans.  We'll be going to the Vikings game and Sweet Potato asked me where I have the tickets.

Me:  Don't worry.  I have them in a super secret and safe place.
Honey Bunches:  What if you go to jail and we don't have the tickets or anyone to drive us to the game?
Me:  I'm not going to jail!
Sweet Potato:  Well if you go to jail, then I'll drive everyone to the game.  But then if I get caught, I'll probably get sent to Juvie.

What the heck?

Monday, September 17, 2012

And So It Begins

We have the first victim of sickness of the 2012-2013 school year.  Poor Cucumber woke up this morning - very early - with a tummy ache.  I asked her if she thought she should stay home from school and she nodded her head yes.  I knew that meant she really didn't feel well.  As I roused the troops to start getting ready for the day, Cucumber wandered out of her bedroom and asked for a piece of toast.  She sat down at the table and nibbled on it, pushing it away after only a few bites.  She then went back into her room and reappeared a few minutes later with her uniform on and hair brushed.  She said she was feeling a little better and wanted to go to school. 

On the way to school, Cucumber fell asleep.  She awoke with tear-filled sobs, just as we were driving into town.  I asked if she was o.k. and she cried, "I think I'm going to throw up."  At that, Sweet Potato (who was riding in the front seat) attempted to cover his ears and plug his nose at the same time.   Honey Bunches was sitting right next to Cucumber and attempted to slide as far away from her as possible, which resulted in Gummi being smooshed up against the passenger door.  The only calm person (besides me) was Gummi who tried to reassure Cucumber,  "It's o.k.  I've thrown up in the car lots of times.  Mom will clean it up."

We were only a few blocks away from school and I made the decision to keep driving, instead of pulling over.  Just as we pulled into a parking spot, the depths of Cucumber's agony erupted.  At that, Sweet Potato began opening up his door, even before the car was in park.  Honey Bunches basically lept over Gummi to get out of the vehicle.  All three were in the school before I could get out of my seat and back to Cucumber.

The poor girl had tears streaming down her cheeks.  She so desperately wanted to go to school, but kept repeating that she didn't feel good.  All she wanted to do was sleep.  We made it home, she changed back into her jammies and crawled into bed.  She has had a few more "episodes", but keeps sleeping in between them.  She'll be staying home with me tomorrow, just to make sure this thing passes.  By the way, Monkey Toes, if you happen to be reading this, I drove the kids to school in your car.  Love you!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Birthday Boy

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.
                                                                                                                               1 John 3:1

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Potato.  I admire you in so many ways.  I love your passion for game shows (and football, and cooking, and statistics, and trivia).  I admire your smarts, your inquiries, and your playfulness.  I enjoy seeing you get excited over your favorite meal, politics, and a new season of Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman.  You tell jokes as well as I do (sorry about that!), and you love family traditions.  You bring joy to my heart.  I am proud of you and I forever love you!

Sugar Cereal for his birthday

Of course, a new football

And They're Off!

The school year has officially begun.  The 3 oldest had their first day on Tuesday, and Cucumber started today.

Gummi Bear is in 2nd Grade

Honey Bunches is in 3rd Grade

Sweet Potato is a 4th Grader

Cucumber is a Kindergartner!
Pumpkin wanted her picture taken, just because.

As did Sweet Pea
When the older ones went to school on Tuesday, I was doing fine.  They were excited to go and were looking forward to seeing their friends.  The first two days have been a success!

Then last night, Cucumber put herself to bed, because she wanted to be well rested for her first day of school.  This morning, she was awake before I entered her room.  To say she was excited is an understatement.

We arrived at school and I turned the van off.  She asked what I was doing.

Me:  I'm going to take you into school.
Cucumber:  I don't need you to do that.  I can go by myself.
Me:  I know you can, but I want to walk you in on your first day.
Cucumber:  Really mom.  I'll be fine.

Yes, but I won't be.  Like a pro, she walked to her cubby, hung up her sweater and backpack, and marched right into her classroom and found her seat.  I called her over, since she forgot to say good-bye.  She gave me a hug and then hugged each of her little sisters.  Then she said, "You two have fun with mom today.  I'll see you when I'm done with school."

Then the tears came (from me).  They didn't stop.  As the little ones and I were leaving the school, the principal asked, "how are you holding up?"  And then I sobbed.  I mean, it was a really ugly sob that erupted from the depths of my throat.  And I think even a little snot flew out (sorry for the image, but I was truly a mess).  The principal hugged me and I felt completely foolish.  I quickly walked out to the van and buckled up the babies.  I cried most of the way home.  Pumpkin asked Sweet Pea, "why is mommy crying?"

Sweet Pea:  I don't know.  She's really sad.
Pumpkin:  She musta stubbed her toe.

I knew that today would be a bit sad, but I certainly didn't think I would continue to have this reaction each time one of my children starts school.  Cucumber drew me into all of her excitement.  There is no doubt she was ready for school.  I believed I was ready too.

There is something to be said for seeing a piece of your heart walking around outside of yourself.  I am having to let go - just a little bit - and allow another to nurture her, to teach her, to guide her.  The five short years she has been home with me has been preparing her for this very moment. And so it is that I send her off, with a slightly heavy heart, but one that is full of gratitude for this life and the opportunity for education.

A Back to School Prayer

Father of all mercies, we ask that you would bless the youngest and littlest of learners, the most helpless and powerless of persons, with Your infinite and loving mercy, granting them the strength to learn, concentrate,
and act appropriately towards their teachers and fellow students.

We also ask that You would watch over them, at home and at school and grant them proper direction so that they may learn of Your wonderful virtues.

We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

~ by David Bennett

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Imitation Is Flattery: Part II

While I worked in the kitchen yesterday, all 4 girls were playing dress-up in Sweet Pea's and Pumpkin's bedroom.  I heard Cucumber say, "Let's play moms."  A few moments later, they all emerged wearing hooded sweatshirts.  Maybe it's time to step-up my wardrobe.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day #7

Day #7 - Grandpa's Cabin

Day seven took us to Grandpa's cabin.  Monkey Toes and the kids left early in the morning to spend the day with Monkey's family.  I stayed behind, spending the day with my mom watching Audrey Hepburn movies.

Monkey with his siblings and step-dad.

The Love Bugs with a few cousins they met for the first time.

Just being silly.

The girls enjoying the sandbox.

Honey Bunches will go to extremes to avoid getting his picture taken.  Here, he's inside a Bean Bag Toss game.

Cucumber's big catch of the day.

A final stop to eat before heading home.

This brings my 7 day challenge to a close.  Not that planning activities and spending time with my kids should be a challenge.  My goal was to make this final week of summer vacation memorable and to simply take advantage of this precious time together.  The majority of these days were spent close to home and were either free or fairly inexpensive.  Excluding the cost of gas, we spent a total of $75 for 7 seven days of activities for 7 people.  I think that's pretty reasonable.

On our final day of summer, we plan to spend time outdoors and then make sure all of our school "business" is in order.  Have a safe Labor Day and I hope you enjoy every minute of it!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day #6

Day #6 - A Parade

Labor Day Weekend is our town's festival and today was the parade.

Awaiting the start of the parade.  Thanks to Uncle Tim for the popcorn!

Monkey Toes waving and Cucumber looking like she is about to throw her water bottle at a passing float.  Thankfully, that did not happen!

The kids watching the marching band.  My two favorite parts of a parade (and the ones that always have me swallowing back tears); 1.  When our country's flag passes and 2. Marching bands.

That's it.  That is all the pictures I took this afternoon.  I also need to mention the full day we had, just not necessarily all together.  This morning, my sisters and I went out for coffee.  Monkey and the boys went golfing, while the the girls and Miss Jessica went garage sale-ing and to the park to play.  On my return home, Gummi and Cucumber went to hang out with my sister.  We all met up again at the parade site. 

Before supper this evening, at least 4 of the 6 kids were crying for various reasons.  "He doesn't want to play with me.  She took my doll.  He ruined my obstacle course.  I can't find my shoes.  I don't know why I am crying, I'm just sad."  Needless to say, we are all tired.  So off to bed I go.  Tomorrow is another full day, but not by choice.  So we'll go with the flow and be thankful for these last few days of summer.